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NIKI: IAG will buy its aircraft - and slots - for a new Austrian Vueling subsidiary

On 29-Dec-2017 IAG announced that it is to buy the assets of NIKI, the insolvent Austrian airline formerly part of the Air Berlin Group, subject to "customary closing conditions", such as EC competition approval.

IAG will pay EUR20 million for assets, including up to 15 A320 family aircraft and slots at airports that include Vienna, Duesseldorf, Munich, Palma and Zurich. IAG will also provide liquidity of up to EUR16.5 million.

The acquired NIKI assets will be placed into a newly formed Austrian subsidiary of Vueling, IAG's LCC, and run initially as a separate operation employing approximately 740 former NIKI employees.

Lufthansa had originally agreed to buy NIKI after airberlin filed for insolvency on 15-Aug-2017. When the European Commission blocked that deal on competition grounds there were no bidders for the whole airline, and NIKI filed for insolvency on 13-Dec-2017, ceasing operations the following day. A number of bidders then emerged to buy assets from the administrator.

IAG said that more details about branding and route network will be provided "in due course, when appropriate". Under airberlin's 2017 restructuring plan, NIKI's leisure focus was reinforced and its network grown. IAG's low cost operation should be significantly boosted in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Palma de Mallorca.

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